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Sunday, November 29, 2009

FM 11/30/09

Hi. I hope all of you have had a Happy Thanksgiving (or a happy Thursday) and are ready to face (_eek_) December. I almost have the lion finished (needs eyes, nose and a mouth - and to be sewn together). I decided to shop my stash as opposed to hitting a Black Friday sale. Definitely cheaper and easier, plus I can do that in my pjs. I rediscovered yarn in my stash that I forgot about. So under the guise that I got a cut in pay (I did) I will be using this newly discovered yarn to craft Christmas presents. Nothing that fancy, a hat, a scarf, a cowl. But I will be using up the yarn I have already paid for, so it should be a more inexpensive Christmas.
Speaking of Christmas (and before we get sucked into December), maybe you might want to shop your stash (if you have one) and create presents for your recipients this year. I know, some people don't like "homemade gifts". If that's the case, don't stress yourself out over it. Just spend what you can afford on the person and chalk it up to their loss, not yours. They are the one missing out on the gift, not you. For the other folks, consider if, for example, they are waiting for a bus in the cold. A colorful scarf will really feel good on a cold winter's day. Kids are always losing hats - and I intend to make a few for my great nephews. I'm sure it won't be the thrill of the year, but I have a joint gift for them, this is just a little something extra.
I am saying (even though it only has a little bit to do with crochet) is be gentle with yourself. Don't fret over making 20 different cookies or decorating the house down to the cat bowls - unless that's your thing and you like doing that. Your family doesn't want you all frazzled and undone for the holidays - they want you to be present, in the moment, enjoying what's happening in front of you. You can't do that if you're worrying about the credit card bills or how you're going to find time to take the bunny to get his picture taken with Santa Claus, The economy is in the toilet and I don't think financial recovery is coming for at least 2 more years. (nope, I don't have any insider knowledge, just a guess.) So consider your stress level and your bank account level and make the adjustments you need to make so you and yours can have a good holiday.
oops, I'm ranting again, aren't I? well let me shut up and give you some sites that you can get some ideas for your presents without breaking the bank....

Sweater Babe has some amazing free patterns on her site. Check these out for some holiday cheer.

I thought this was interesting - I would have loved this when I was a girl. I have no small girls to crochet for, but it's still cute - crocheting dolls

This is a tiny teddy, not suitable for small kids but could be good for a tween or a teen, Or maybe somebody that just needs the comfort of a teddy bear with him or her....

This is cool - the never ending granny square

This is an interesting stitch and it looks great - a slant stitch scarf

See these fish? I'm sure they are going to make their way into one great nephew's gift pile. Maybe even two..

This is a lovely scarf, plus it's a little different than a striped scarf - check it out.

This is beautiful - a graceful shawl

Again, with the teddy bears, it's a teddy bear afghan

And for those who prefer the light look of filet, here's teddy bear filet pattern

Here are some toys that look cool. Yeah it's not Bakugan or that stripey monesr thing, but still cool....

And last, but certainly not least, a gift for you - Caron is giving away a free full size skein of their Country yarn. You just have to go to this site for details

As usual, I don't receive any compensation for mentioning these sites to you. I just want to share what I have found.


Monday, November 23, 2009

in memory of my sister and crochet teacher

In memory of my older sister Bee, who taught me how to crochet.

I wrote this back in 2006, talking about my older sister and how she taught me how to crochet. She would have been 59 this coming week. With the hustle and bustle of preparing for Thanksgiving (which she loved0, I decided to take the easy out and repost this little bit of writing.

This rant started off as a response to the "Not your Grandmother's crochet" phrase.

My older sister, Bee, taught me how to crochet (and knit). She took dress design in her vocational school and that's something the students had to learn. She sewed her prom gown and made a beautiful smocked dress as part of her studies at Mervo. She struggled teaching me how to crochet because I was (still am) very impatient. It seemed to flow freely from her hands, but I just couldn't seem to grasp it. It took me about a few months of practicing and watching and Bee showing me time and time again for me to get that "aha" moment.

I had to make something for my Home Ec class, any project, but it had to be crocheted or knitted. The Home Ec teacher didn't show us _how_ to do it, we were supposed to know. And we were also supposed to bring the item into class so she could see us actually work on it.
I choose yellow and green yarn for the colors (it matched my bedroom). The yarn I bought was rug yarn, I think. It was the least expensive of the yarns in the five and dime I visited and the start of my love affair with Boye hooks, a size H.

Bee did the chain stitch to start. I had great difficulty starting the project. Now I realize I pulled the chains too tight and couldn't work stitches in them, but I didn't know that then. I don't remember if Bee tried to get me to make them looser or not. At any rate, I was stitching along. Horizontal green and yellow stripes, done in double crochet, that had a sort of "rib" effect. I didn't know I was supposed to put the hook under _both_the loops on the top of the stitch. Bee probably did about 30% or so of the afghan. But having to take it to school and show my work made me try to learn the stitches better.
The teacher had doubts (reasonably so) that I was actually doing the work. I was slow and it would be unreasonable to think I had gotten so much done so quickly. But the day finally came when I could whip the project out of my duffel bag and actually accomplish some rows while in class. After that, the teacher didn't question my ability to crochet. I honestly don't remember what other people made. I can't remember if there were amazingly complex patterns or just ponchos (it was the late 60s). But I was sure glad I got that project done. And it certainly kept me warm.

The afghan is long gone now, a victim of time and moving. It wasn't that beautiful a project, but it was important to me. The joy of actually creating a project that big has stayed with me. I still enjoy the accomplishing of any project, whether big or small. And I've made a ton of afghans since that time, but that first one remains in my memory as an extra special afghan.
After all, how many crochet projects keep you warm, co-ordinate with your room and get you a good grade in school?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

FM 11/16/09

Hello. I have finally finished the round afghan and need to take a photo of it. I am also making a lion toy to go with it, it will be all white with a multi-colored mane.
I have the body made, I just need to do the ears, legs and tail.
Today would have been my friend Robin Freed's 55th birthday. I met her thru rubber stamping but we were both interested in fiber. Her interest took the form of quilts. For a quilter, the quilt block is the basic tool they use to make their creations. We crocheters also use motifs to make our creations. So in honor/memory of Robin Freed's 55th, I am posting links to various free motif crochet patterns.

Triple triangle square

Lace motifs - these are great

double heart square

Teresa's "Art of Crochet" blog has a wonderfully textured knobby granny square

baby bonnet squares

hearts in a row square

Northern Lights motif is made in size 10 crochet thread, but I bet it would look great in fingering or lace weight yarn

Concentric circles from Lion Brand

This is really cute - a retro polka-dot square

torch flower motif

That's it for this week. I hope you enjoy exploring the various motif patterns I have posted. As usual, no payments of any kind have been given to me to post these links. Everybody's too broke for that nonsense;)


Monday, November 09, 2009

FM 11/09/09

It's happy birthday to me day at my house. I have reached the age of a speed limit;) (55 if you must know). I have almost finished the "oopsi" afghan. I had a great deal of difficulty doing the last 5 or so rounds. This is because I wasn't paying attention as closely as I should have. I would get 2 rounds into it and realize I made a mistake on the first round. Or 3 rounds into and realize a mistake in the first round. So I chickened out and made up my own last few rounds. It still looks good, but I do think the real pattern looks better. I also think I wasn't going to spend more time ripping out the rounds. I should have paid attention and if I make it again (I'm sure I will), I will use stitch holders to mark where I checked the pattern every 10 or so clusters. All the patterns in the book are great.

This isn't a plug, just something I am curious about - you can learn
to crochet from an iphone? Isn't the screen small?

Suzie always has such great patterns - here's Suzie's circle of hearts beret

If you are preparing for Thanksgiving and you have the time, here's a Thanksgiving wreath for you: http://www.favecrafts.com/Thanksgiving/Thanksgiving-Turkey-Wreath-Crochet-Pattern

I love sunflowers. My sunflowers have gone the way of most of my flowers because it's been a little cold here. But this is great - a sunflower lapghan

More stuff for the fall or Thanksgiving - crocheted leaves

This is great - a crocheted joy sign

My oldest sister loves dolphins. I wonder how she would like this dolphin pattern?

If you are making gifts, Christmas or otherwise, you need to know what size to make the article - Beverly Button has a sizing chart on her site

How about some monster slippers

The Happy Yellow House has a sweet pattern for a technicolor heart afghan

And here's a pattern for a granny square Christmas tree

As usual, no kickback for me for featuring these items. Who could afford it?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

FM November 2, 2009

Well, it's November and it's Daylight Savings Time in my neck of the woods. I'm not sure why we are saving daylight, we had plenty in the summer;) But I don't make the rules.
I am on round 24 of the "Oopsie" afghan. It looks great, even if I do say so myself. It is coming together quickly even thought it looks difficult.

On to the patterns:

For those of you who love dogs, here is a dog shaped scarf

I can see where fingerless mitts could sometimes be handy so here's a pattern for a pair: http://www.craftbits.com/viewProject.do?projectID=2573&utm_source=100609NS&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=cb

My favorite hand coverings are mittens. Yes, I know you can crochet gloves, but I just like having my fongers free.

I'm not quite ready for snow, but I am ready for some crochet snowflakes

and more crochet snowflakes

This looks as if it would be very handy for those folks who use a walker - could be great for nursing home residents -a walker bag

How about a beautiful doily

Or maybe some crocheted Queen Anne's lace

This is really cool - you could use it on a card - a crochet poinsettia

This is just to look at, but it's pretty cool - a crocheted evening gown

I know that October is over and that is supposed to be Breast Cancer Awareness month, but this would be appropriate almost any time - a breast cancer awareness scarf

That is about it for me today. As usual, I receive no freebies from posting these items. In this economy, who could afford payola;)